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Cullertons To Release 111-Year Grip On City Council Seat

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 17, 2014 4:30PM

Alderman Tim Cullerton (38th)
At least one ward will have a new alderman with the news that Tim Cullerton will not seek re-election for his City Council seat. Maybe the city can retire the actual chair Cullerton sits in during Council meetings—a member of the Cullerton family has been on City Council for 111 of the past 143 years. We joke about aldermen being the equivalent of feudal lords and then discover that may not be such a joke after all. Chicago politics FTW!

Cullerton, a former deputy buildings commissioner, can trace his family’s history back to Chicago’s beginnings. He’s a descendant of one of the city’s original settlers, Edward Cullerton. The family’s presence in City Council dates back to 1871 when saloon keeper Edward “Foxy” Cullerton was elected as alderman. Foxy Cullerton remained an alderman until his death in 1920 (a record which still stands but we believe will be broken as Ed Burke shows no signs of retiring soon). Tim Cullerton succeeded his brother-in-law Thomas Allen, who was appointed a seat as a Cook County Circuit Court judge. Allen was preceded as alderman in 1993 after his father-in-law, Thomas Cullerton, died. During his tenure as alderman Cullerton has been a reliable vote for Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel.

Cullerton told the Tribune he won’t get involved in the race to see who succeeds him and wants to enjoy private life and his grandchildren. Cullerton’s decision opens up a path for 36th Ward Ald. Nick Sposato, who was drawn out of his ward in the new remap that takes effect next year. Sposato said he’ll make a formal announcement soon about his political future.

Other Cullertons in state and local government include cousins, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and state Sen. Thomas Cullerton. Tim Cullerton’s sister PJ is the 38th Ward committeeman.